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Judges 3; Judges 4; Judges 5 (New Century Version)

1 These are the nations the Lord did not force to leave. He wanted to test the Israelites who had not fought in the wars of Canaan. 2 (The only reason the Lord left those nations in the land was to teach the descendants of the Israelites who had not fought in those wars how to fight.) 3 These are the nations: the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the people of Sidon, and the Hivites who lived in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 Those nations were in the land to test the Israelites -- to see if they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors by Moses. 5 The people of Israel lived with the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 6 The Israelites began to marry the daughters of those people, and they allowed their daughters to marry the sons of those people. Israel also served their gods. Othniel, the First Judge 7 The Israelites did what the Lord said was wrong. They forgot about the Lord their God and served the idols of Baal and Asherah. 8 So the Lord was angry with Israel and allowed Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia to rule over the Israelites for eight years. 9 When Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord sent someone to save them. Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, saved the Israelites. 10 The Spirit of the Lord entered Othniel, and he became Israel's judge. When he went to war, the Lord handed over to him Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia. 11 So the land was at peace for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died. Ehud, the Judge 12 Again the people of Israel did what the Lord said was wrong. So the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power to defeat Israel because of the evil Israel did. 13 Eglon got the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join him. Then he attacked Israel and took Jericho, the city of palm trees. 14 So the people of Israel were ruled by Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years. 15 When the people cried to the Lord, he sent someone to save them. He was Ehud, son of Gera from the people of Benjamin, who was left-handed. Israel sent Ehud to give Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. 16 Ehud made himself a sword with two edges, about eighteen inches long, and he tied it to his right hip under his clothes. 17 Ehud gave Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 After he had given Eglon the payment, Ehud sent away the people who had carried it. 19 When he passed the statues near Gilgal, he turned around and said to Eglon, "I have a secret message for you, King Eglon." The king said, "Be quiet!" Then he sent all of his servants out of the room. 20 Ehud went to King Eglon, as he was sitting alone in the room above his summer palace. Ehud said, "I have a message from God for you." As the king stood up from his chair, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand and took out the sword that was tied to his right hip. Then he stabbed the sword deep into the king's belly! 22 Even the handle sank in, and the blade came out his back. The king's fat covered the whole sword, so Ehud left the sword in Eglon. 23 Then he went out of the room and closed and locked the doors behind him. 24 When the servants returned just after Ehud left, they found the doors to the room locked. So they thought the king was relieving himself. 25 They waited for a long time. Finally they became worried because he still had not opened the doors. So they got the key and unlocked them and saw their king lying dead on the floor! 26 While the servants were waiting, Ehud had escaped. He passed by the statues and went to Seirah. 27 When he reached the mountains of Ephraim he blew the trumpet. The people of Israel heard it and went down from the hills with Ehud leading them. 28 He said to them, "Follow me! The Lord has helped you to defeat your enemies, the Moabites." So Israel followed Ehud and captured the crossings of the Jordan River. They did not allow the Moabites to cross the Jordan River. 29 Israel killed about ten thousand strong and able men from Moab; not one escaped. 30 So that day Moab was forced to be under the rule of Israel, and there was peace in the land for eighty years. Shamgar, the Judge 31 After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath saved Israel. Shamgar killed six hundred Philistines with a sharp stick used to guide oxen. Deborah, the Woman Judge 1 After Ehud died, the Israelites again did what the Lord said was wrong. 2 So he let Jabin, a king of Canaan who ruled in the city of Hazor, defeat Israel. Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim, was the commander of Jabin's army. 3 Because he had nine hundred iron chariots and was very cruel to the people of Israel for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. 4 A prophetess named Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was judge of Israel at that time. 5 Deborah would sit under the Palm Tree of Deborah, which was between the cities of Ramah and Bethel, in the mountains of Ephraim. And the people of Israel would come to her to settle their arguments. 6 Deborah sent a message to Barak son of Abinoam. Barak lived in the city of Kedesh, which is in the area of Naphtali. Deborah said to Barak, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go and gather ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them to Mount Tabor. 7 I will make Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, and his chariots, and his army meet you at the Kishon River. I will hand Sisera over to you.'" 8 Then Barak said to Deborah, "I will go if you will go with me, but if you won't go with me, I won't go." 9 "Of course I will go with you," Deborah answered, "but you will not get credit for the victory. The Lord will let a woman defeat Sisera." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 At Kedesh, Barak called the people of Zebulun and Naphtali together. From them, he gathered ten thousand men to follow him, and Deborah went with him also. 11 Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law. Heber had put up his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim, near Kedesh. 12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera gathered his nine hundred iron chariots and all the men with him, from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Get up! Today is the day the Lord will hand over Sisera. The Lord has already cleared the way for you." So Barak led ten thousand men down Mount Tabor. 15 As Barak approached, the Lord confused Sisera and his army and chariots. The Lord defeated them with the sword, but Sisera left his chariot and ran away on foot. 16 Barak and his men chased Sisera's chariots and army to Harosheth Haggoyim. With their swords they killed all of Sisera's men; not one of them was left alive. 17 But Sisera himself ran away to the tent where Jael lived. She was the wife of Heber, one of the Kenite family groups. Heber's family was at peace with Jabin king of Hazor. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Come into my tent, master! Come in. Don't be afraid." So Sisera went into Jael's tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 Sisera said to Jael, "I am thirsty. Please give me some water to drink." So she opened a leather bag of milk and gave him a drink. Then she covered him up. 20 He said to her, "Go stand at the entrance to the tent. If anyone comes and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say, 'No.'" 21 But Jael, the wife of Heber, took a tent peg and a hammer and quietly went to Sisera. Since he was very tired, he was in a deep sleep. She hammered the tent peg through the side of Sisera's head and into the ground. And so Sisera died. 22 At that very moment Barak came by Jael's tent, chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him and said, "Come. I will show you the man you are looking for." So Barak entered her tent, and there Sisera lay dead, with the tent peg in his head. 23 On that day God defeated Jabin king of Canaan in the sight of Israel. 24 Israel became stronger and stronger against Jabin king of Canaan until finally they destroyed him. 1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song: 2 "The leaders led Israel. The people volunteered to go to battle. 3 Listen, kings. Pay attention, rulers! I myself will sing to the Lord. I will make music to the Lord, the God of Israel. 4 "Lord, when you came from Edom, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the skies rained, and the clouds dropped water. 5 The mountains shook before the Lord, the God of Mount Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel! 6 "In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the main roads were empty. Travelers went on the back roads. 7 There were no warriors in Israel until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose to be a mother to Israel. 8 At that time they chose to follow new gods. Because of this, enemies fought us at our city gates. No one could find a shield or a spear among the forty thousand people of Israel. 9 My heart is with the commanders of Israel. They volunteered freely from among the people. 10 "You who ride on white donkeys and sit on saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, listen! 11 Listen to the sound of the singers at the watering holes. There they tell about the victories of the Lord, the victories of the Lord's warriors in Israel. Then the Lord's people went down to the city gates. 12 "Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, sing a song! Get up, Barak! Go capture your enemies, son of Abinoam! 13 "Then those who were left came down to the important leaders. The Lord's people came down to me with strong men. 14 They came from Ephraim in the mountains of Amalek. Benjamin was among the people who followed you. From the family group of Makir, the commanders came down. And from Zebulun came those who lead. 15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah. and followed him into the valley. about what they would do. 16 Why did you stay by the sheepfold? Was it to hear the music played for your sheep? about what they would do. 17 The people of Gilead stayed east of the Jordan River. People of Dan, why did you stay by the ships? The people of Asher stayed at the seashore, at their safe harbors. 18 But the people of Zebulun risked their lives, as did the people of Naphtali on the battlefield. 19 "The kings came, and they fought. at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo. But they took away no silver or possessions of Israel. 20 The stars fought from heaven; from their paths, they fought Sisera. 21 The Kishon River swept Sisera's men away, that old river, the Kishon River. March on, my soul, with strength! 22 Then the horses' hoofs beat the ground. Galloping, galloping go Sisera's mighty horses. 23 'May the town of Meroz be cursed,' said the angel of the Lord. 'Bitterly curse its people, because they did not come to help the Lord. They did not fight the strong enemy.' 24 "May Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, be blessed above all women who live in tents. 25 Sisera asked for water, but Jael gave him milk. In a bowl fit for a ruler, she brought him cream. 26 Jael reached out and took the tent peg. Her right hand reached for the workman's hammer. She crushed and pierced the side of his head! 27 At Jael's feet he sank. He fell, and he lay there. At her feet he sank. He fell. Where Sisera sank, there he fell, dead! 28 "Sisera's mother looked out through the window. She looked through the curtains and cried out, 'Why is Sisera's chariot so late in coming? Why are sounds of his chariots' horses delayed?' 29 The wisest of her servant ladies answer her, and Sisera's mother says to herself, 30 'Surely they are robbing the people they defeated! Surely they are dividing those things among themselves! Each soldier is given a girl or two. Maybe Sisera is taking pieces of dyed cloth. Maybe they are even taking pieces of dyed, embroidered cloth for the necks of the victors!' 31 "Let all your enemies die this way, Lord! But let all the people who love you be as strong as the rising sun!" Then there was peace in the land for forty years.
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